The Reserved bidder for the Enugu Electric Distribution Company may take over the power firm soon despite alleged lobbying by the preferred bidder after it failed to meet the stipulated payment deadline set by the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
Our correspondent gathered on Monday that the Federal Government would not bend the rules to favour any investor who did not meet the deadline for the payment of the outstanding 75 per cent of the bid sums for the privatised power firms.
The Special Assistant to the Minister of Power, Ms. Kande Daniel, told our correspondent that the government would follow the law to the letter as it related to the bidding process.
She said, “If you didn’t meet up and didn’t pay, the reserved bidder takes the floor. It is not a complicated issue at all. The only thing that I think we may need to clarify with the preferred bidder is to be sure that it didn’t actually pay and it remains paperwork, because procedural matters can be another issue.
“So, if it was like they paid as of the deadline and paperwork was not concluded that night, then that can be something to consider. However, we have to wait for the official pronouncement. But I want to assure you that there is not going to be any complication at all because those implementing these things are following the rules to the letter. Government has made the whole thing so transparent.”
Last week, the Federal Government stated that all the preferred bidders for the power firms paid up except Interstate Electrics that did not as of the close of the official deadline on Wednesday.
Interstate was unable to pay the remaining 75 per cent of the bid price for the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company.
However, sources at the BPE stated that the bureau might give the preferred bidder some period of grace to pay up.
But Daniel maintained that the law must run its course, stressing that it was improper to go contrary to its dictates in the privatisation process.
It was learnt that international organisations, including the United States Agency for International Development and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom, were involved in the bid process as observers.
The reserved bidder for the Enugu Disco, Eastern Electric had on Wednesday declared its preparedness to pay $126m for the takeover of the company following the failure of Interstate Electric to do so.
Asked if the government was going to hand over the Disco in question to the reserved bidder, Daniel said, “However, before the minister addresses the press on these issues, the BPE must tell us exactly what the situation of things is.
“They won’t hold it for long because it is something that even the government is in a hurry to carry out. This process is the pride of the government and the government is in a hurry than us.”
Information from Punch was used in this report.